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Sautéed Aubergine (Eggplant), Courgette (Zucchini) and Peppers with Tomato Sauce-Saksuka

Patlicanli, kabakli saksuka; fried eggplants and zucchini in tomato and red pepper paste sauce

Patlicanli, kabakli saksuka; fried eggplants, peppers and zucchini in tomato and red pepper paste sauce

This is one of the most popular mezes, appetizers at home, featuring our beloved eggplant (aubergine). It is delicious and easy to make. Garlicky yoghurt accompanies this dish really well. I like to add a little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi to it; it really adds a wonderful flavor. If you like to make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

One of the joys in life for me is to cook and eat with friends and family. The life evolves around kitchen, children come and go and you get to cook with those dear to you, simply wonderful. We made and enjoyed this dish with friends this week; in Turkish we say “the food tastes better when shared” and it sure did.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 red bell pepper
2-3 chili peppers (as hot as you wish), kept whole or sliced in half
Sunflower oil for shallow frying
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes

10ml/2tsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15ml/1tablespoon olive oil
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Garlicky yoghurt sauce:
200ml/7fl oz thick and creamy natural plain yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400F (if you prefer to roast the vegetables)

Using a vegetable peeler, partially peel the aubergine in stripes. Cut the aubergine in half length ways and then cut each half into thick slices. Sprinkle salt over the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly (otherwise the excess water will cause the hot oil to spatter everywhere).

Cut the courgette in half lengthways and then cut it width ways into thick slices. Deseed the red bell pepper and cut it into bite size pieces. You can leave the chili peppers as a whole or cut in half if they are too big.

Heat enough oil in a wide pan. Sauté the vegetables in batches until they are golden brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Lightly season with salt and ground black pepper.  Alternatively, if you prefer to roast the vegetables, you can spread the sliced vegetables on a roasting tray and coat them with olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp) and season with salt and black pepper. You can then roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until they start to turn golden brown.

On a separate pan, sauté the garlic for a minute or so with the olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes and the hot pepper paste (if you are using) and mix well. Stir in the red pepper flakes and the parsley. Add salt and pepper to your taste. The tomato sauce is ready.

For the yoghurt sauce, beat the yoghurt with the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pile the hot vegetables on to a serving dish and spoon the tomato sauce over the top. Serve the yoghurt sauce by the side, accompanied by chunks of fresh bread to mop up the tasty sauce.

Afiyet Olsun,


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9 Responses to Sautéed Aubergine (Eggplant), Courgette (Zucchini) and Peppers with Tomato Sauce-Saksuka

  1. erica September 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    This dish looks very delicious…my Turkish husband would eat the whole dish himself…..his Mom from Izmir use to make something like this for him when he visited. Now I make it for him quite often. Thanks for sharing…..and I love your Blog and recipes….. if I lived in the same country I would be attending your cooking classes.

    • Ozlem September 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Merhaba Erica,
      It really is so kind of you; I love connecting individuals like you thru the blog, food has a common language : ) I do wish we can get to cook together sometime, in the meantime, I am just glad that you enjoy the recipes:)

  2. Barbara Heywood August 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    There’s no mention of the chillis in the method. Do I just cook them whole with the other vegetables, then remove them

    • Ozlem Warren August 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Merhaba Barbara, many thanks for your note – you can keep the chilis as a whole or cut them in half if they are too big. I sautee them with red peppers and courgettes and I tend to leave them, as we like it spicy. If you prefer less spicy, you can remove them after sauteing. Hope this helps and you enjoy Saksuka, afiyet olsun

  3. Kristin November 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    I had never thought to roast eggplant for saksuka in the oven until I saw your post. I tried it last night for the first time and it worked wonderfully. Much easier and less oily! Can’t wait to share this tip with friends.

    • Ozlem Warren November 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      Delighted to hear you enjoyed this saksuka Kristin, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Turkey's For Life April 18, 2015 at 6:14 am #

    Ohh, like that you put courgettes into your şakşuka. 🙂 We love this meze and don’t make it often enough at home so thanks for jogging the memory and putting it back on our radar.

    • Ozlem Warren April 18, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      You are very welcome Julia 🙂 – Courgettes work well in the mixture, hope you enjoy making it – afiyet olsun 🙂 Ozlem


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